My daughter is getting married in less than 90 days. She lives in the Philadelphia area, but we see each other at least every other month, and with text messaging, without which I would never communicate with my children, we talk often. So I am in the loop, so to speak, of the planning and excitement as she moves toward the threshold of a new life.
I don’t think Jen would mind if I outed her here, but she is no spring chicken. Let’s say mid thirties, for simplicities sake. She is smart. She is wise. She, like our son, listens to our advice. I know how rare that is. The older they get, the more they listen! Its inevitable; they see the fruit of our experiences, some of it regrettable!
The only thing I said to her about getting married was to take anything that really bothered her about her betrothed or any situation he comes with, and multiply it by 100. That would be marriage.
Jim and I have been married for almost 42 years. We have had our ups and downs; we were even separated for a short time many years ago. At the time, a friend said to me upon hearing the news, she couldn’t bear being away from her husband when he left for work in the morning. I knew that feeling, but at the time, it wasn’t enough. Now, of course, I cannot imagine life without him. How does this happen? Two people meet and they stay together through life. During my years nursing, I saw many, many couples at the end of their time together. No matter how old someone is, when their partner dies, it is heartbreaking. The survivor must find a reason for living.
My son married his darling wife last December. Now my daughter is approaching this monumental time of her life. She is getting married in the Caribbean and all of us will be there together. I am getting so excited about it. The icing on the cake of all of this is that her wonderful husband to be, is really, well, wonderful! Granted, he is lucky to be getting her, but she is really lucky, or I should say blessed, to have found him. They are good for each other. I feel so happy for her.
She was here in Michigan last week, and part of our time each day was spent with my wonderful neighbor, Kirk, as he designed and made her wedding dress. First, out of muslin, it is exactly the perfect dress for her body. It is so ‘her’. How fortunate am I that a designer just happens to live next door to me?
We also shopped for the week we would be away. Each bathing suit cover-up and pair of flip flops brought us closer to that big day. In October, I am hosting a bridal shower for her at a quaint inn near Philadelphia. I think that day will really bring it home to me that Jennifer is getting married. Even in her bridal gown, it doesn’t seem real to me.
Not too many years ago, I was driving home from work one day and saw a slender girl on a bicycle, long blond hair in a pony tail, riding close to our home. I thought suddenly, what is Jeni doing out of school? And then I remembered. She was in her twenties then, and I was having some kind of memory lapse. I started to weep, pulling the car over. A momentary brain fog had put me back in time. My children were grown, gone. It has taken me most of the past ten years to come to terms that those years of their childhood past will never be retrieved. Now what I have is the joy of seeing two, successful, happy adults who have found their place in the world.
I am the one who is free to make my way between their homes, one on each coast, and take advantage of the fruits of my labor.